Elijah Abel’s poem

Malaysia Rice does a Praise Dance to “Were you There” after the poem

Several people have asked that I publish this poem, which I wrote as part of I am Jane.
The poem is set up by Jane asking Elijah about all the talk she has been hearing of curses, Cain, Ham, etc. She says, “I’ve never felt cursed by God, only loved so deep, seemed my bones might melt.” Elijah replies, “I feel, Sister Jane, that ours is…

Not a curse but a gift t’us,
The best path we could seek
A place where God can lift us
We kneel; our knees is weak

And when one of us is kneelin’,
We understand his fears.
We know what all us is feelin’
We cry each other’s tears.

That’s just what Jesus done
For all us human folk.
He agreed to come get born
To feel ever’ pain and poke.

So’s he could understand us,
What it is to be a slave.
So’s he could get beneath us
And push us outa the grave

Would you rather be the massa
Or the Roman with his whip?
Would you rather nail the Savior–
Put vinegar to his lip?

Or learn the lessons of sufferin’–
How we nothin’ without grace.
Jesus, He give us a callin’.
He gifted us our race.”

(I recommend that you listen to this while reading the poem.)

My play is published in Saints on Stage , edited by Mahonri Stewart.

About Margaret Blair Young

Margaret Blair Young teaches literature and creative writing at Brigham Young University. For the past fifteen years, she has specialized in the history of blacks in the west, particularly black Mormons. She has written six novels and two short story collections, but has lately become interested in filmmaking. Her current endeavor is a film to be shot in Zambia called Heart of Africa (www.heartofafricafilm.com)